It’s freezing outside, but it’s cozy in the house. Many people are in that winter mode of cranking up the central heating and refusing to leave the comfort of their warm beds in the morning, at this time of year. Human beings are one of the few species in the world that can change the climate of their living environments. I know that you are probably thinking “Wait a minute? One of?”.
There are some truly fascinating creatures out there who regulate their own internal body temps or can regulate the outside temps. Nature has been doing things better for millions of years before we came along, you just have to look. I digress, this article isn’t about kick ass bugs in the desert, or how hummingbirds go into a functional coma on cold nights.
What I am writing about today, is the illusion we create of that warm house in the middle of winter; being pest free.
Think about it for a second. In a dreary winter landscape, there are entire islands of neighborhoods out there each cocooning a little world of heat inside. Your house, on a given street, an oasis of heat surrounded by cold. Of course, you are going to see pests. We have created the perfect environment for pests in Winter, because on the inside of your home…Winter never happened.
Many insect pest species lay their eggs in the Winter or go into dormancy. Some even specialize in Winter time, while others make do all year long. This is not even including the warm-blooded pests such as rodents.
For today I will focus on just insects. You may have read the article on Firebrats, those guys are a little on the extreme end themselves. It would be too convoluted for the sake of a blog article to go through the many types of egg-laying cycles, seasonal ability, and other various aspects of life cycles in detail for just even one classification of insect type.
What I am going to talk about is purely conceptual in explanation, and explain how what may be a negative situation for you at the moment, is, in fact, a perfect opportunity.
Many people have insects in the home at low numbers which they normally don’t encounter. Many times you will see insects start to transfer into the home as the days grow shorter and colder.
The likelihood of pests getting into your home in the middle of Winter is low, but the likelihood of them already being in there before Winter goes into full swing as you start to barricade the house from the ravages of Winter? Pretty good actually.
The issue people have in Winter with pests in the home usually lies with the fact that there were ones in the house, to begin with. It gets a little complicated depending on the type and its lifecycle. You can have one species be problematic all Winter inside the home, or you can have an explosive boom occur right before spring as the eggs hatch from being dormant.
On the temperature side of things, you have created an internal environment where it is warm in a Winter landscape. It’s possible that any insects present in your home before Winter, may very well carry on unhindered by the normal temp drop, thereby making your home an incubator or sorts for a variety pest species unbeknownst to you. They will most likely still be less active than they normally are, but they will make their presence known in abundance at the slightest hint of Spring.
I mentioned this being a perfect opportunity; because it is. The fact that it’s Winter outside is a great tool. Winter is a great time to treat the home, even if you are not seeing anything at the moment. It re-enforces a barrier and eliminates any insects in the home which might pop up in Spring. The best part is that since it is Winter, you are a lot less likely to have any issues of more insects coming in from the outside at this time, especially after a treatment. Think of it as a pre-Spring cleaning.
If you don’t already have a normal pest control technician visiting your home on a scheduled basis, this is the time to start. In my opinion, the pest control New Year starts in Mid-Winter. It is the best time to be pro-active with pest control before Spring comes along, especially if you are indeed noticing any pests. If you already have a service, ask them for a refresher at this time. If they try and talk you out of the need, maybe think of finding a new pest control company within the Charlotte area.
Insects have a hugely beneficial service to humans, ranking in billions of dollars annually in agriculture stemming from free pollination to actual pest control of crops. This doesn’t even include the billions invested into the economy for the pest control industry itself, in urban environments. Our need for insects and our need to get rid of them is a huge and integral part of the American economy and is largely dependent on the scale of how you see them.
For instance, in the home; many insect species are indeed pests and need to be treated. On the other hand; at a larger scale; many insects have huge beneficial services they give to humanity free of charge. These include agriculture services (everything pollinates from Flies, Wasps, Butterflies, and Bees), to pest control, disease prevention, and huge advances in medicine/military technologies/computing/etc.
In fact, many military techs, computer systems, models, and medicines have been based on studying many social insects and their anatomies and biology.
Some things truly terrify me. One of them is the thought of something like one day all the spiders dying out. I know that is the dream of many Arachnophobes in the world, but the resulting nightmare in a world without spiders is much more terrifying. There is a lot of great literature and studies on the impact spiders have. For instance, the number of flies and other winged insects one spider can consume in its lifetime matched with how many spiders there are in the world (a crazy number), is far outmatched by the numbers of what they eat. You would see disease and petulance pop up in the resulting effects of the biblical numbers of flies that would appear within weeks of all Spiders disappearing.
So when you groan every time you see a spider, have to load up on Citronella candles in Spring, and buy DEET by the gallon in Summer. Know that a lot of things you enjoy come from many of the insects which may be pests at the scale of your house, but on the nationwide level are integral to how we and the economy function on many levels. The fruit you eat, the social media you use, and even some medicines, all partly came from insects in one way or another.
You should still treat your home when the need arises. While insects on a larger scale are amazing, the ones in your home in the greater scheme of things are not AS beneficial. A spider in your children’s room, ants in the pantry, and wasps in the eves; are much less appreciated.
A pest problem can occur in any kind of home.
Insect populations can fluctuate due too many reasons including seasonality, precipitation, and even construction in the area of your home. The life cycles of insects are different and vast, and they all generally co-inhabit the same space. A little disturbance such as abnormal temperatures and clearing land can both combine to a major change in the movement and activity of many insect populations for an affected area. What happens is that these insect populations will move and re-establish themselves elsewhere; many times upon an entire neighborhood area. You will suddenly see an entire small ecosystem of bugs appears in your area, and you haven’t encountered in such numbers before.
If you are suddenly seeing cockroaches, silverfish, spiders, beetles, and etc. in your home, chances are your neighbors are as well. The problem is most people aren’t going to advertise the fact that they are having a pest problem. It has an unsaid connotation that your home is unclean. You may openly complain about your spouse to your neighbors, but you aren’t going to talk about the silverfish in the bathroom.
A lot of time this sense of “shame” associated with having pests in the home also makes a person wait on getting a treatment done for the house. Sometimes not even bother seeking treatment at all. Pests aren’t going to wait for you to pick up a phone, they will continue reproducing in greater numbers. This is especially true of many insect populations when introduced into a new area without competition for space and greater access to the resources areas of human development provide, these bug populations will explode as they increase almost exponentially to a point unhindered before hitting their stride. Trust me, if a stray cockroach is going to bug you, you don’t want to see that explosive growth peak.
Believe it or not when your neighbors get around to getting treatment to their houses done on a service call, it makes it worse for those who haven’t.
Remember when I had spoken earlier about when a disturbance moves insect populations to settle into new areas. When these insect populations settle into your neighborhood and began reproducing, you generally start getting service calls for treatment of homes in that area. Then all those homes that get their houses treated first become micro-disturbances in a newly settled area. Those insects will then be pushed and move to houses that haven’t had a recent treatment or that are not protected at all. If that’s you, then be prepared. If you are late to the game, you are going to have a longer time and a harder problem getting rid of those pests for your home even after treatment. Insect populations cycle in waves, and this cycle timing changes depending on the species you are dealing with.
A good pest control company knows the treatment protocol based on an insect-to-insect basis. Still even they will tell you that it will take a couple weeks as the product they use eliminates the first generation, and then the offspring. Different stages of an insect’s life cycle require different treatment measures. Your best bet is to be proactive, be that first neighbor in your neighborhood to get treated when insects settle into it.